Wilson Offers Council Bill To Tighten Up Ethics Code

January 05, 1992|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff writer

Harford's economic development director didn't violate financial disclosure laws last summer by failing to list $207,000 in lien judgments against him on a financial statement.

But such disclosures wouldbe required in the future, if a new ethics law proposed by the County Council president, Jeffrey D. Wilson, is adopted.

Wilson circulated a draft bill among county officials for their comment last week, but has not formally introduced the legislation to the council for consideration.

Wilson's proposal also would changethe definition of family listed in the ethics law, said James Vannoy, legislative aide to the council.

Vannoy said that change was prompted by controversy over several council votes last year on a rubblefill proposal made by Richard D. Schafer, son of former county Councilman John D. Schafer, D-District C.

The councilman abstained fromsome -- but not all -- of the council votes related to the rubble fill. However, the councilman was not in violation of the county's ethics law on the occasions he did vote on matters related to the rubble fill proposal because his son Richard is not a dependent. "Right now,you can't vote on any matter when a family member is involved, and family members are defined as spouses and dependent children," said Vannoy. "The draft bill would define families members as all children, whether dependent or not, parents, spouses, brothers and sisters, andthe children, parents, brothers and sisters of a spouse."

Other proposed changes in Wilson's draft bill:

* Elected officials could not accept meals from lobbyists.

* The council attorney would no longer be required to give 10 weeks notice before taking a county official to court over a conflict of interest.

* Financial disclosure statements would be kept on record for four years, instead of two years.

* The council would have to vote each year to set limits on the value of gifts that could be accepted without conflict.

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